After the AFC Olympic Qualifying for women, Japan provided the shock of the qualification when they finished third. That means that the 2010 World Cup champion and 2012 Olympic silver-medalist team - not to mention the world's fourth-ranked team - will be at Rio. After losses 3-1 to Australia and 2-1 to China, Japan had a remote chance to advance, but after both those teams won their own final matches to finish 1st and 2nd, respectively, third was the best position. Congrats to Australia and China in a new era for Asian football!
Meanwhile, Sweden Fills Out the Field
With World Cup third-place finisher England not eligible for the Olympics, UEFA held a special tournament to fill their third spot for Rio. Sweden finished on top of the four-team field, besting the Netherlands, Switzerland and Norway to claim the ticket to the Games. With that, Sweden joins France and Germany as European representatives, as well as matching Brazil, South Africa and Germany (and possibly the United States) as the nations to enter both the men's and women's fields.
Martin Fourcade and Marie Dorin Habert powered France to the top of the medals at the World Biathlon Championships this week in Oslo, with stirring performances, each winning four individual medals. Fourcade's count included three gold which came in the first three individual events, setting a tone of dominance for the other racers to counter in the second half. Habert's haul of two gold, two silver and one bronze also included a relay silver for five overall. She wasn't the only women's star: Germany's Laura Dahlmeier also reached the podium in all five events, going 1-1-3 in her effort to counter Habert. Meanhwile, Norway's Ole Einar Bjorndalen went 1-2-1 for four overall to lead host Norway to second place in the medal standings with nine, behind France's 11.
Ukraine Tops European Wrestling
A bit of surprise this week at the European Wrestling Championships in Riga, as Ukraine took the top spot on the medal table, with 14 overall. That total was driven largely by the seven medals in women's freestyle (and taking the team title there), which represented seven of eight weight classes, and by Zhan Beleniuk's gold in the men's 85kg greco-roman to secure the team's lone individual title. And in another surprise, in the top spot in men's freestyle team rankings was Georgia, with 59 points to Russia's 54 for second place. Georgia placed on six of eight podiums in the discipline, with golds in 61kg and 125kg. Russia did win the team title in greco-roman, as well as second place overall with 12 medals.
Canada topped the medals at the World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Seoul this week, with ten medals overall. That's an impressive comeback after a disappointing two-medal performance last year, and a big win to lead over China's nine and South Korea's seven. Canada's two stars, Charles Hamelin and Marianne St-Gelais both won silver in the overall men's and women's standings, and four overall. China's Han Tianyu was the individual star, however, with four medals - all gold, including the men's overall title. Also of note was Chinese-Hungarian Sandor Liu Shaolin's third-place in the men's overall, and the 500m gold to lead his country's first medal appearance at the Worlds.